Sunday, 16 February 2020

Truman (Burton) beers in 1939

Considering they didn’t even brew the full gamut of styles – all the Stouts were brewed in London – Truman’s Burton brewery made a crazy selection of beers.

Surprisingly, given that they were the reason Truman acquired the brewery in the first place, most weren’t Pale Ales. They fell into three groups: Pale Ales, Mild Ales and Strong Burton Ales.

Starting with the Mild Ales, I’m not sure that there’s a difference between X and X “Light” and XX and XX “Light”. I’ve included both, just in case. But I suspect they were the same beers.

The three strengths of Mild, X, XX and No. 7, fell nicely into the 4d, 5d and 6d per pint classes. Nothing odd about that. Except that none of the three was Truman’s main Mild. That was the X Ale brewed in Brick Lane. I suspect that this set was only sold in Truman’s pubs in the Midlands.

A pretty high degree of attenuation leaves them all rather more alcoholic than you would expect. With the strongest, No. 7, falling not far short of 5% ABV.

At 6 to 7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping rate is pretty decent. Around the same level as London Mild Ales, which were on the hoppy side.

Pale 1 and Pale 2 were definitely sold throughout all of Truman’s estate, where they were known as Burton Bitter and Burton Best Bitter. They fall neatly into the 7d and 8d per pint slots. P2 was about as strong as draught Bitter got between the wars, being a similar strength to other Burton Pale Ales, such as Bass.

Interestingly, the hopping rate for the Pale Ales is no higher than that that of the Mild Ales at around 7lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt.

The attenuation, on the other hand, is a good bit lower than in the Mild Ales. Not sure why that might be.

Truman (Burton) beers in 1939
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
X Mild 1030.2 1003.3 3.55 88.99% 5.76 0.67
X "Dark" Mild 1028.5 1004.4 3.19 84.47% 6.83 0.74
X "Light" Mild 1030.2 1004.2 3.44 86.24% 6.97 0.80
XX Mild 1035.5 1003.9 4.18 89.06% 5.76 0.78
XX "Dark" Mild 1033.8 1005.0 3.81 85.25% 6.83 0.88
XX "Light" Mild 1035.5 1004.4 4.10 87.50% 6.97 0.93
No. 7 Mild 1041.3 1004.7 4.84 88.59% 5.76 0.92
Pale1 Pale Ale 1053.5 1013.3 5.31 75.13% 6.75 1.37
Pale1 B Pale Ale 1053.5 1013.6 5.28 74.61% 6.75 1.37
Pale2 Pale Ale 1047.4 1009.4 5.02 80.12% 6.75 1.23
XXX Strong Ale 1048.2 1010.2 5.02 78.74% 5.76 1.06
B3 Ale 1056 1013.9 5.57 75.25% 6.75 1.45
R4 Ale 1052.9 1013.9 5.17 73.82% 6.75 1.33
Stock 1 Stock Ale 1105.3 1034.9 9.31 66.84% 12.73 5.83
Stock 2 Stock Ale 1088.6 1027.7 8.06 68.75% 12.73 4.91
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.

XXX had me fooled for a long time. I originally classed it as a Mild, mostly because it was usually part-gyled with Milds. But it always seemed just too strong to be an interwar Mild. Especially considering the quantities in which it was brewed.

Then I compared it with some analyses of Truman’s draught Burton Ale. And realised that the OG was the same. I was confused because London Burton Ales were usually 8d per pint beers with gravities 1053-1055º. But, unusually, Truman’s Burton was a 7d beer and consequently a bit weaker.

The Stock 1 and Stock 2 in the table really date from early 1940 as I don’t have records from 1929. Stock 1 was the beer which, after a year or more of ageing, was blended with a Running version to create Bass No.1 Burton Barley Wine. A beer in the same class as Bass No. 1.

I’m really not sure about what happened with Stock 2. I assume it was also aged, given its name, and probably blended. But with what, I’ve no idea, as I’ve never seen a Running 2. Perhaps it was blended with R4. I’m surprised to see it, as I’d though Truman’s No. 2 was discontinued before WW II.

Both Stock Beers are very heavily hopped, as you would expect from beers which were going to be extensively aged. As a result of this ageing the FG would have been much lower than indicated.

Finally, the two beers I’ve simply described as Ales. I’d guess that B4 was some sort of bottled Old Ale. As to R4, I’m clueless. Perhaps used to blend with something else. But I’ve really no idea.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Let's Brew - 1941 Truman XX

More results from my latest archive visit.

I'm finally back to writing my new book. Travelling to London, photographing at the archive then extracting the information took about two weeks out of my schedule. Research is a very labour-intensive activity.

Next up in strength amongst the Mild Ales remains XX. Though it hasn’t been as lucky as X, losing 2º since 1940.

Though that has partially been offset by an even higher degree of attenuation, leaving the ABV a respectable 3.77%. So at least it retained a reasonable amount of poke.

I’m pretty sure that this is really the pale version of XX. I’m not totally sure why they maintained the differentiation in the Brewhouse between the pale and dark versions of X and XX. Mostly they look exactly the same. The difference I assume, coming at racking time with different primings or simply an addition of caramel.

There’s been a massive reduction in the hopping rate, from 7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) to 3.5 lbs. Unsurprisingly, the result has been a halving of the (calculated) IBUs.

For further recipe notes, see the X above, with which this was parti-gyled.

1941 Truman XX
pale malt 4.50 lb 59.68%
high dried malt 2.00 lb 26.53%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.63%
black malt 0.04 lb 0.53%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 6.63%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.33 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.33 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1032.5
FG 1004
ABV 3.77
Apparent attenuation 87.69%
IBU 12
SRM 10
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 14 February 2020

Pricey Bass in Holland

Moaning about the price of beer. It's something old CAMRA twats like me are particularly fond of. But it's a practice far older than CAMRA.

As this article demonstrates:

""Bass" in Holland.
There was a time when the now omnipresent "Bass" was not omnipresent. Most middle-age people can remember that, when they wanteed a glass of beer brewed by the famous Burton firm, they had to ask for "India Pale Ale". The particular brew was meant for consumption in India, and was adapted for the double journey across the equator. Gradually it became a beverage acceptable to home consumption, and, now, under the name of "bitter ale," the "India Pale Ale" of a generation ago, is drunk in every country of the earth. There are places and countries, however, which seem to have an objection to the introduction of the popular drink within their borders. They do nnot positively prevent its importation; but, by putting a prohibitory price on it, they tax its patrons. Why, for instance, should a small bottle of bitter ale cost a guilder at Rotterdam? Is it that the Dutch are anxious that an Englishman on his travels should confine himself to Schiedam? Thakeray, in one of his "Roundabout Papers," expressed his chagrin at the price he had to pay on the Boompjes. "I have paid less" he said, "in Jerusalem. It is as easy and cheap to send a barrel of beer from Burton to Rotterdam as to Tenby, or Torquay, yet at Rotterdam they charge more than four times the price they do at these places. Why this should be has never yet been explained. Mr. de Kuyper's 'Schiedam' can be obtained here better, and equally as cheap, as it can in the town on the Maas in which it is manufactured. Why, then, we ask again, should not an Englishman on his travels in Holland be able to procure a bottle of Bass which costs less than a guilder?"
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Saturday 01 October 1881 , page 16.
Nice little history of IPA to start.

I'm not sure why Bass should be so much more expensive in Holland. It could have been connected with either import duties or tax. It's a bit disingenuous of the author not to realise that there's a big difference between shipping somewhere in your own country and to a foreign one. No matter how close it might be. Though there seem to be plenty around in the UK today who believe something similar.

The reference to Schiedam threw me at first. Was Bass cheaper there than it Rotterdam. Then I realised that he meant jenever.

And here are some examples of what that expensive Bass might have been like:

Bass Pale Ale 1880 - 1892
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1880 Bass Pale Ale 1055.2 1017.4 4.90 68.48%
1887 Bass Pale Ale 1064.2 1009.3 7.08 84.75% 0.117
1887 Bass Pale Ale 1063.5 1009.5 7.08 85.04% 0.12
1888 Bass Pale Ale 1069.6 1010.6 7.58 83.82% 0.189
1888 Bass Pale Ale 1069 1011.2 7.58 83.77% 0.19
1892 Bass Extra Pale Ale 1059.2 1009.1 6.55 84.62%
1896 Bass Pale Ale 1060.8 1006.9 6.98 87.97% 0.234
"Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel" by Joseph König, 1889, page 836
Wisconsin Dairy and Food Commission
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830

Note the very high degree of attenuation.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Beer Trade of Belgium

More fun from Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette about Belgian brewing in the late 19th century.

First a little something about Belgian beer imports. I was surprised to see what the source of the majority of those imports was.

"The Beer Trade of Belgium
From statistics recently published concerning the commerce of Belgium it appears that the importation of beer into that country continues notably to increase. During the first half of the present year, that is to say, from January 1 to June 30, the total amount of beer imported from Germany was 35,983 hect., as against 29,651 hect. in the corresponding period of 1880, and 24,162 hect. in the corresponding period of 1879. The importation in 1880 for the whole year was 71,890 hect.; in 1879, 47,457 hect.; and in 1878, 52,082 hect. The largest quantity of beer imported into Belgium is drawn from Prussia, the imports of such beer having latterly largely increased. Whilst the importation of English beer remains almost stationary, beers of German origin continue to increase in popularity, and their consumption is very large. At the same time it must be mentioned, that in spite of this constant augmentation the importation of foreign beers into Belgium compared with the general consumption of the country, is insignificant, and does not represent anything like a formidable total."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7.

Surprising to see Prussia listed for two reasons. First, because it wasn't a big beer exporter. But more importantly, because Prussia no longer existed as a country.What they probably mean is that the imports came from the Brausteuergebied - basically the North of Germany. I wonder when this trade dried up? Before WW I or as a result of it?

Belgian brewing in 1880
Output (hl) 9,239,000
imports (hl) 71,890
% imports 0.78%
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7.
European Statistics 1750-1970 by B. R. Mitchell, 1978, page 283.

I assume that these imports were principally, if not exclusevely, bottom-fermenting beer. While imports of UK beer were definitely 100% top fermenting. The UK's export trade with Belgium was more extensive in the 20th century, espewcially after WW II, peaking at 215,874 barrels in 1965.* Which amounted to over 50% of all UK beer exports.

Next we move on to hops and barley.

"With regard to the importation of hops, statistics show that during the present year a decreased quantity of hops has been imported into Belgium In the first half of 1881, 349,673 kilogs. of hops were imported into that country, while in the corresponding period of 1880 the total was 525,785 kilogs., and in the same period of 1879, 503,675 kilogs. According to official statistics Prussia sends by far the largest quantity of hops into that country although the total this year is, so far, much less than that in the two previous years. The imports of hops from England into Belgium also show a notable falling off this year as compared with the first half of last year. With reference to the exportation of hops from Belgium the figures do not denote any remarkable fluctuations. This exportation in the first half of 1881 amounted to 588,485 kilogs., as against 675,04O in the same period of 1880, and 633,171 kilogs. in the same period of 1879. France receives the largest quantity of hops from Belgium and a considerable quantity are also sent to this country. The imports of barley into Belgium in the first half of this year amounted to 50,317,263 kilogs., as compared with 60,977,203 in the same period of 1880, and 73,270,864 in the same period of 1879, It will thus be noted that for the first half of this year these figures show a diminution. The exports of barley from Belgium have also decreased in the half-year ending June last, the total being 8,437,158 kilogs., as against 18,096,090 in the corresponding period of 1880."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7

Belgian hops were popular in the UK. Not because anyone thought they were any good, but because they were dirt cheap. Overall, Belgium was a small next exporter of hops, by about 100,000 kg.

On the other hand, Belgium was a big net importer of barley, bringing 41 million kg more than it sent out.

* “1971 Brewers' Almanack”, pages 53-54.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1940 Truman XXX

The strongest Mild Ale flowing from Truman’s Burton brewery remained a powerful beer. Still weighing in at over 5% ABV.

At least that’s what I thought until recently. Then I had a look at some analyses of Truman beers in the interwar period. It pretty soon became obvious what XXX was: their draught Burton. Which makes a lot of sense.

No-one brewed a 5% Mild Ale between the wars. I thought it seemed odd that Truman did. When I saw that the OG of XXX matched that of Truman’s Burton, then it was obvious what was going on. Burton was, after all, a sort of super-strength Mild Ale.

It wasn’t just the odd barrel that was brewed, either. This batch was 95 barrels. The shortest length of the three beers in the parti-gyle – there were 230 barrels of 7 and 194 of XX – but still a decent amount.

The basic recipe is not far from that of the X “Dark” and XX “Dark” parti-gyle above. Other than the lack of caramel. And a lower hopping rate. Which leaves the (calculated) IBUs of XXX lower than the much weaker X “Dark”.

1940 Truman XXX
pale malt 6.25 lb 56.82%
high dried malt 2.50 lb 22.73%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 9.09%
flaked rice 0.75 lb 6.82%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 4.55%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1047.5
FG 1008
ABV 5.23
Apparent attenuation 83.16%
IBU 18
SRM 12
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60.25º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

What I learnt at the archives (part 95)

I should get out more. To archives, not anything crazy like the outdoors. Because I always learn stuff from my visits. The unexpected is what keeps it exciting.

My recent trip to the London Metropolitan Archives was my first in 6.5 years. Partly because I still haven't processed all my earlier photographs. I've stacks of them. I think 15,000 or so. And they take a while to churn through.

For example, I took 660 photos at the archives on Monday. I've made a real effort to go through them this week. I've got through 60. In about 10-12 hours. To process the lot, I'm looking at 120 hours.

But I'm not that daft. There's a lot of overlap in the Truman's WW II logs. Each book only covers about four months. Being an obsessive bastard, I wanted, no, had to, photograph every record. But I'm being more practical about what I transcribe. What I need for my current project.

There were a limited number of WW II records left for me to snap. I wasn't going to waste the opportunity. And did a bit of pre-emptive research for my next book. (Yes, I am thinking that far ahead.) And got stuck into some Truman's records from the 1880's.

It's always worth looking in the front and back covers of brewing records. You never know what you'll find. Things like this:

It's a record of Truman's last Keeping Porters, from 1879 and 1880. It's taught me so much. Laet's go through it all.

First, that Keeping Porter lasted longer than I thought. I'd believed in fizzled out in the early 1870s. Clearly it dragged on until at least 1880.

As the "started" (put into a vat) and tapped dates are given, I can see how long it was vatted. Which is between 5 and 10 months. Which is about what I would have guessed, but it's nice to have some confirmation.

Surprising is the size of the vats being used. And just how small they were. The largest batch is 1100 barrels. This tells me that Keeping Porter may have survived the removal of the massive Porter vats. These look of a size which would have been used for Stout.

You can also see which hops were added to the vats. Rather surpringly, "American" and "Alost" (Aalst in Belgium). The cheapest and hops with the least valued aroms around.

Bit of an underestimate on the brewing record photos. Just counted and it's 28,000.

I remain number-obsessed as ever.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Brewing in Holland

I've been poking around in Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette, looking for stuff about other countries.

Frustratingly, articles about foreign brewing aften contain more useful details than those about the local industry. Because they assume you know certtain things and don't bother to explain them. While the exotic world of foreign brewing is described in detail.

Dutch brewing gets a much easier ride than Belgian.
"Brewing in Holland.
A DUTCH correspondent of the German Brewers' Journal sends the following:— lt is perfectly true that not so much beer is drunk in Holland as in Belgium. In Belgium the popular drink is beer; in Holland it is geneva. But it is likewise true that brewing is making gigantic strides in Holland. The new law for the repression of drunkenness, which came into force on the 1st November last, aims at discouraging the consumption of ardent spirits by reducing the number of places of retail, and this, together with the heavy fines now imposed for drunkenness in public, tends to improve brewing prospects by encouraging the consumption of beer. It is incorrect to say that the beer is only sold in jars or flasks. Such is the practice in Oosterhout, Raamsdoak, Heusdenhout, Roosendaal, Wour Ondenbosch, and wherever the beer has a gravity of at least 1.003 and contains much lactic acid. This, the so-called "white beer" in flasks, is very effervescent, and can be drunk to satisfy without producing intoxication. When speaking of the progress of brewing in Holland mention must not be omitted of the great Bavarian breweries for which the firm of Heineken has become famous. The beer brewed by this firm is in much request even abroad, and after the manner of many of the larger German brewers, it is packed in special railway vans refrigerated with ice. There are also very large breweries working on the surface-fermentation system, among which three may be named, that of Vollenhoven, at Amsterdam ; of Buuartz, at Rotterdam; and of Smits van Waesbeghe, at Breda. The production in the two first-named establishments is to the full as large as in the best Belgian breweries. The last-named firm (Smits van Waesbeghe), although only producing 10,000 hectolitres per annum, is noted for the fineness of its beers, which have won for it special commendation at various exhibitions, whilst its head has proved himself at various congresses to be a man at the top of his profession. No good beer is brewed at Herzogenbosch, and still less at Grave."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Monday 01 May 1882, pages 14 - 15.
That's obviously some sort of Witbier being described. Was it called that it Dutch? Or do they mean Prinsessenbier or something similar? Whatever it was, it clearly had a bvery low ABV if it didn't get you pissed.

It's a sign of Heineken's rapid success that already in 1880 they were internationally renowned. When this article was written they had only been bottom-fermenting for about a decade.

Even many Dutch people don't realise that for the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Holland wasn't really a beer-drinking country. It's only after WW II its drinkers could compete with the Belgians, Germans of British in terms of beer consumption.

By "surface-fermentation" I assume the author means top fermentation.That's certainly what Van Vollenhoven concentrated on, being famous for their Stout. (A version of which is still brewed.) It seems that, unlike in Belgium, some Dutch top-fermenting beer did meet British standards.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Archive dust

Dropping by the London Metropolitan Archives on Monday was a strangely nostalgic experience.

Big chunks of my writings are based on documents I snapped there. I knew it was a while since I'd been there. Checking the dates of the photos, it was 6.5 years. What? I still haven't quite processed them all. What a lazy git I am.

Smells evoke memories more than any other senses. First Truman's log up, it hits me. Covers my fingers, progresses up my nails, dirties my shirt. And that smell. Archive dust.

Sends a shiver down my spine every time. No matter how many times I have to rush to the bog to scrub my hands.

The first sniff of a brewing record at the LMA on Monday took me back and up and all over. In a funny fun sort of way.

Then I remembered I had several hours of taking photographs like a lunatic. That's not so much fun.

Torture over, washing the archive dust from your fingers is another ordeal.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Let's Brew - 1941 Truman R1

More fruit from this week's archive harvest. The fact that I've been processing the records immediately tells you how much I'd been waiting for them.

In the early years of the war, at least, Truman continued to brew some pretty strong beer. Though it’s sometimes hard to work exactly where and under what name they were sold.

No such problem, with this beer. I know exactly what it is: the running version of No. 1. Which means it was never sold in this form. As the whole point of it was to be blended with the Stock version of No. 1. The resulting blend – approximately two-thirds R1 to one third S1 – was bottled and sold as No. 1 Burton Barley Wine.

I haven’t been able to find and S1 brewed after 1940. As it was only very occasionally brewed, I might have missed. But why brew R1 if you weren’t brewing S1? It’s all to do with lag. S1 was aged for at least 12 months before blending. I know there was an S1 brewed in April 1940. I’m guessing this beer, which was brewed about a year later, was intended for blending with it.

The difference with S1 is striking. The hopping rate is way lower for R1. Which is exactly what you would expect. Also the percentage of high-dried malt is lower here.

Two types of English hops were employed, both from the 1939 harvest and kept in a cold store.

1941 Truman R1
pale malt 14.00 lb 80.00%
high dried malt 2.50 lb 14.29%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.43%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 4.29%
Fuggles 105 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1077
FG 1019
ABV 7.67
Apparent attenuation 75.32%
IBU 30
SRM 11
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 7 February 2020

Brewing in Belgium

The last set of bosts about 19th-century Belgian brewing went down well. So here's another, rather smaller, article.

Though this one isn't quite as snide, it does point out the ridiculous nature of the Belgian tax system
"Brewing in Belgium.
Brewing is one of the most important branches of Belgian industry, and the average annual quantity of beer manufactured in the country amounts to about 105,668,000 gallons. Notwithstanding such a relatively large production, Belgium exports a very small quantity of beer. The introduction into France of the light and cheap beer produced in Belgium is prevented by the French customs tariff laws, which do not establish any distinction for any particular quality of beer imported, but prescribe a fixed rate of duty of four cents. per gallon. Besides this, the Belgian excise duties hinder the manufacture of strong and well-fermented beer. The Revenue tax being levied according to the size of the mashing tubs employed, the brewers are interested in getting the most they can from the mash, and they neglect the quality in order to obtain the quantity; yet, considering the advantages placed at its disposal, it is believed that Belgium would be able to compete with any other nation, if there was a thorough fiscal reform. From England beer is exported to the amount of two millions sterling. Brewing is an industry which in Belgium contributes a good deal to the advancement of the national fortune and to the physical development of the working community. Throughout the country there are about 2,700 breweries, which produce annually 214,821,687 gallons of beer. "
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Friday 01 April 1881, page 9.
This is something modern drinkers might be surprised by: "Belgian excise duties hinder the manufacture of strong and well-fermented beer". Nowadays Belgium is associated with strong beers, but that wan't the case in the past. Almost all Belgian beer was pretty weak in the 19th century.

The numbers for Belgian beer production don't seem to match up. First it lists 105,668,000 gallons, then later 214,821,687. The later number, which is the ewquivalent of 5,967,269 barrels looks like the correct figure. As a very similar number is confirmed by another source.

To put that Belgin beer production figure into context, here are the numbers for some neighbouring countries:

Beer production in 1880 (barrels)
UK 30,742,649
Belgium 5,635,790
France 5,048,970
Germany 23,638,720
Brewers' Almanack 1928, page 109.
European Statistics 1750-1970 by B. R. Mitchell, 1978, page 283.

It's amazing that Belgium, a tiny country, produced more beer than France. And most of that French beer was produced jsut south of the Belgian border.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1941 Truman X

Here's the first fruit from my brewing record harvest earlier this week. It's a lovely watery Mild.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not sure if this is the light or dark version of X. Because the brewing record makes no mention of it.

At least the gravity hasn’t fallen. Then again, it didn’t really have anywhere to go. An increase in the rate of attenuation, however, has boosted the ABV to over 3%. Happy days.

Grist-wise, there are a couple of changes. Most striking being the dropping of any sort of adjunct. The flaked rice of the previous year is gone forever more.

Added is an amount of black malt. It’s not clear from the record how much. Because it’s not in with the other malts and isn’t included in the malt total. It says “2 black” – my guess is that it means 2 bushels and not 2 quarters. That would be too much for a beer like this.

Frustratingly, Truman doesn’t seem to always list the caramel used in a beer. I think because it was only added at racking time. I know from materials totals in some brewing records that they did use considerable amounts of caramel. It’s just not clear exactly where and in what amount.

Both of the types of hops were English, from the 1939 harvest and kept in a cold store. The hopping rate has dropped a lot, about halving the (calculated) IBUs.

1941 Truman X
pale malt 3.75 lb 58.87%
high dried malt 1.75 lb 27.47%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.85%
black malt 0.040 lb 0.63%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 5.18%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1027.5
FG 1003.5
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 87.27%
IBU 10.5
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Archive run

I'm just back from a short London trip. Basically an archive run. Though I did meet up up with a few people for a beer or two. I'm not going to visit London without a trip to the Royal Oak.

Now the London Metropolitan Archives doesn't open on Fridays, it rules out the most obvious option, which woulg be to fly in Thursday evening and back again on Saturday. Instead, I did Saturday to Monday.

All was going well until Monday morning. When I woke up around 4 AM feeling shit. Not to worry. What's the worst it could be? Yes, there had been loads of people in face masks at Schiphol and Heathrow. But I'm sure it takes the corona virus longer than a day or two to incubate.

Then I remembered: I was innoculated against yellow fever last week. They warned me I might have some flu-like symptoms. Let's hope that's what it is.

Feeling exhausted isn't the best condition for an archive blitz. It involves a lot of standing and snapping. Despite everything, I still managed 600 photos in three hours. Which is about par for the course.

I was there for something quite specific.The later WW II records of Truman's Burton brewery. When I startred writing Truman resipes for my next book, I noticed how much was missing. Too much, really. 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945 and 1946. Especially the first two, as those were the years when the interesting stuff happened.

As I knew I'd have time for more, I opted to get in some research for my book after next. Which consisted of looking at more Truman's records. Lots of fun when you feel like you might vomit or faint at any moment.

I also did a few Whitbread's. Because I noticed I was two away from the full set. But a couple of other records on account of my Birthday Home Brew business. Recently someone asked for a recipe from 1958. I didn't have one for the specific date. So I suggested I could harvest a recipe of twop while in the archive.

Now I just have to transcribe all the information into my spreadsheet.  Which will be a real pleasure, given how lovely Truman brewers; handwriting was. Almost as good as mine.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Belgian beers 1839 - 1898

This is a sort of companion post to my recent series about Belgian beers in the 19th century.

Turns out I have rather more Lambic analyses than I thought. Though, sadly, only three give the level of acidity. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty damn high in all three examples.

What is a shock is the strength of some of the examples of Lambic. Only two of the seven are below 6% ABV. Even all the Faro is above 5% ABV. The strongest Lambics are almost 10% ABV - way, way stronger than any modern version.

Knowing how it was produced, the extremely high level attenuation is to be expected. All the bugs would have eaten through just about anything fermentable. The attenuation is particularly impressive if you know that before 1900 most continental beers were below 70% apparent attenuation.

Gerstenbier, in case you're wondering, is the same as Bière d'Orge. It's just the Dutch-language version of the name.

Belgian beers 1839 - 1898
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity (%) pH
1839 Unknown Lambic 1085.1 1011.5 9.72 86.49%
1850 Unknown, Brussels Lambik 1058.4 1013.2 5.89 76.39%
1850 Unknown, Brussels Faro 1051.2 1011.2 5.20 77.17%
1850 Unknown, Louvain Petermann 1069.6 1015.6 7.06 76.47%
1870 Unknown Faro 1055.1 1013.5 5.41 75.50%
1871 Unknown Lambic 1070.7 1008.7 5.60 86.95% 1.06 3.37
1872 Unknown Lambic 1059.7 1003.3 7.42 94.47%
1889 Unknown Lambic 1088.2 1011.1 9.71 86.46% 1.11 3.36
1889 Unknown Faro 1055.9 1012.6 5.41 76.47% 0.9 3.4
1890 Unknown Lambic 1061.4 1003.3 7.43 94.63%
1890 Unknown Faro 1055.4 1013 5.41 76.54%
1898 Unknown Lambic 1059.4 1003 7.43 94.95%
1898 Unknown Faro 1054.5 1012.9 5.41 76.32%
1898 Unknown Gerstenbier 1048 1002.5 5.96 94.79%
"Bericht über die Entwickelung der chemischen Industrie während des letzten Jahrzehends" by August Wilhelm von Hofmann, 1877, page 382
Handwörterbuch der reinen und angewandten Chemie by Justus Liebig, Johann Christian Poggendorff, Friedrich Wöhler, 1858, page 1038
"Bericht über die Entwickelung der chemischen Industrie während des letzten Jahrzehends" by August Wilhelm von Hofmann, 1877, page 382
American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades by Robert Wahl and Max Henius, Chicago, pages 823-830
"Handbuch der chemischen technologie" by Otto Dammer, Rudolf Kaiser, 1896, pages 696-697
Brockhaus' konversations-lexikon, Band 2 by F.A. Brockhaus, 1898,M1

Monday, 3 February 2020

A British brewer describes Belgian beers in the 1880s (part five)

The final part today. With some more desriptions of Belgian brewing methods. His contempt for which the aouthor makes no attempt to conceal. While also bigging up British beer. I suppose he couldn't help himself.

We start with a piece of of brewing equipment I've never come across before: Rechauffeur. Which literally means "reheater" in Frenvh.

"The first runnings are conducted into what is termed a Rechauffeur, a vessel heated with steam, so that the wort can be gradually raised to a temperature of about 158° Fahr. When this is attained, and when all the worts have been gathered in this vessel, the temperature is kept constant for about an hour, when the wort is pumped into the copper and boiled for about three hours.

This extraordinary procedure is the rule and not the exception in Belgian breweries and, upon consideration it will not cause suprise that this method of manufacture should fail to produce an article equal in quality to those to which we have, fortunately, become accustomed."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Wednesday 01 July 1885, page 14.

I guess that's sort of raising the worts to mashout temperature. Though the author is clearly unimpressed.

Some more details of the brewing methods.

"When two mash-tuns are erected it frequently happens that brewers openly evade the law by refusing to convert their first runnings into a return wort, by causing it to pass over the grist in the second tun. By so doing they can effect a very considerable saving in duty. Curiously enough, they seem to make no secret of the evasion. Whether this be attributable to the fact that the Excise officers are susceptible of manipulation, I am not prepared to say; but several brewers with whom I conversed made no secret about the matter, but freely admitted that a large proportion of their profits were made in this manner."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Wednesday 01 July 1885, page 14.

If you remember my last post, The first wort from mash tun 1 had to be used for mashing the grains in mash tun 2. That's what "return wort" means. A wort - in the UK usually the last runnings with an OG of 1005º or so - used as mash water.

Were Belgian excise officers easily corrupted? Who knows. It does seem odd that the law was so blatantly broken. Not sure why this should have made brewers' operations more profitable.

The next bit is rather vague:

"As a rule the cleansing, not the skimming system is pursued; and the remainder of the process greatly resembles our own. The manufacture is altogether so unique, and so interesting from certain points of view, that it would be a mistake for any visitor to the Antwerp Exhibition to neglect paying inspection to some of these Belgian breweries. It is to be hoped that the above explanations may be of service to them, in forming some conception of the rationale of a very involved and clumsy process."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Wednesday 01 July 1885, page 14.

Cleansing was a process for removing yeast from beer. The best known system being Burton unions. But there were others, such as the dropping system or pontoes.

Overall, this article has convinced me more that tax is one of the biggest driving factors in the development of beer styles.